What does oligarchy actually mean? It is a conceptual form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people distinguished by wealth, education, corporate, religious, or political power. In the US, it means those who have been able to amass vast wealth. The economic system has been modified to serve them. It is based on the exploitation of natural resources, like water, land, oil, minerals, labor, and infrastructure including highways and road systems, electrical grids, and the military.

Oligarchs depend on political manipulations that favor them. Their wealth exists because they have been able to manipulate the systems. The fact is that most of the oligarchs have extracted their wealth from the Nation and its resources, and by utilizing what has been called “Crony Capitalism.”

If they are fairly taxed on their profits and on their amassed wealth, they are simply paying back the American people for the use of resources belonging to all citizens.

Russia has a government controlled by an elected dictator/president who has the power to ensure that he is elected for life. He is supported by an oligarchy which manipulates the organs of the economy and the government to serve both the dictator and themselves. The judicial system is used to imprison or destroy any individual that questions the system. The oligarchs are not elected and do not represent the will of the people. In fact, the people are enslaved.

The US has a representative form of government not a direct democracy. There are three branches of government. The executive branch is controlled by an ‘elected’ President who wins a four-year term because he or she has the largest number of electoral votes, and not because he or she has the largest number of popular votes. The legislative branch includes the Senate and the House of Representatives. These politicians are elected by people who are allowed to vote candidates that have been pre-selected in the primaries. In the US, citizens may be unable to vote or their vote may be rendered meaningless if they live in the wrong part of a gerrymandered district, or if they are of certain racial or cultural heritage.

The Supreme Court is the third branch. Currently, the judicial branch has been ‘captured’ by an oligarchy, often referred to as the “Billionaire Boys Club”. The decisions of the Supreme Court have become political and not based on real facts or constitutional law. That is why many Americans are disgusted by the biased rulings of the current right-wing majority on the Court.

The stories we tell our children and others about American democracy are not factually true. When citizens become aware of how our political and economic systems actually work, they have two choices:

They can: (1) take to the streets, attack centers of government, and advocate throwing out the whole system in order to put a dictator in charge; or

(2) work within the system and elect leaders that run on platforms necessary to clean up and modernize our government of, by, and for the people.